Above photo by Luke Zayas/True To The Cru
MARSHALL, Texas- It took a late rally, but the UMHB baseball team, for the second consecutive year, has a victory under its belt at the ASC Tournament.
On Friday afternoon, the Crusaders took down McMurry, a team that had beaten UMHB twice in February, by a score of 11-7. UMHB now advances into Saturday’s tournament semifinal, with the winner earning a spot in the ASC’s Blue Bracket championship.
How it happened
Entering the eighth inning, the Warhawks had led, 6-5, for the previous four innings. But UMHB head coach Mike Stawski said there was no panic inside the UMHB dugout as the Crusaders stepped to the plate.
“For some reason, our guys seem to enjoy playing from behind,” he noted.
They certainly showed it, scoring six runs over the final two frames, including four in the eighth, as they secured the victory. McMurry mustered a single run in the eighth, but it was not enough to overcome the deficit.
“Each guy knew he needed to do his job and let the next guy do his,” Stawski added. “That was never more apparent than in that inning.”
The offensive surge began with Warren Sammons’ one-out single, and Hunter Jones followed with a base hit of his own. A walk and a fielder’s choice led to the first scoring play of the inning, as Sam Mungia, a freshman playing in his first tournament game, doubled to left-center field, scoring Tyler Martin from third. Kaden deBerardinis’ single in the next at-bat scored two more, giving UMHB a decisive 9-6 lead.
McMurry opened the game with three of its own in the first inning, as UMHB starter James McGlumphy allowed two home runs in the small ballpark. But it did not take long for the Crusaders’ bats to begin firing, either, as they pushed five across in the third, highlighted by Malek Bolin’s grand slam. It ignited the UMHB dugout, and for the first time in the contest, momentum was clearly on the side of the visitors from Belton.
Three more runs from McMurry in the bottom of that inning gave the Warhawks the 6-5 lead they held for the majority of the middle innings, as Xavier Escobar swatted his first homer of the game. In all, seven home runs were hit in the high-scoring contest, with two each from Bolin and McMurry’s Josh Dyer.
Trevor Ripke picked up the win for the Cru, firing four innings, striking out four and allowing just four hits. He moved to 4-2 on the year, and set up Andrew Acierni for the final inning, as Acierni fired a three-up, three-down inning in the ninth.
Bolin was 2-for-5 with five RBIs, while Mungia and deBerardinis each drove in two runs apiece, and tallied a pair of hits.
UMHB battles top-seeded ETBU, the ASC’s regular season champion., at 3 p.m. on Saturday. The ASC Tournament is set up with two brackets, each consisting of four teams. The winners of those brackets meet next weekend to decide the conference champion.